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I have recounted these atrocities with the desire, not of maligning these states, but of showing not only that nothing of the sort happened among the Athenians—for this would be a proof, not of their superior excellence, but merely that they were not of the same character as those who have proved themselves the most godless of men. However, those who undertake to praise any people in superlative terms must show, not only that they were not depraved, but that they excelled in all the virtues both those who lived at that time and those who are now living—which is the very claim that one may make for our ancestors.

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